Professionals are at the heart of our everyday lives. We give professionals the licence to split up families and we send people to prison on their word. In the constitution of everyday life, the distinction between professionals and amateurs is more important than that between church and state.
However, there is a danger that professionalism is outgrowing its own legitimacy. Why are doctors able to deny people the right to die? What gives judges the right to interpret human rights? Government’s ability to help resolve this legitimacy problem is crippled by its own schizophrenic approach. It is torn between depending on professionals as selfless experts or attacking them as producer interests.
We need new ways to resolve this tension, improving services through better conversation rather than greater confrontation.